Any commitments in the forecast Saturday?
Michigan is getting visits from a few names they would like to eventually commit, such as 4-star defensive tackles Jay Tufele from South Jordan (Utah) and Donovan Jeter from Beaver Falls (Pa.), 4-star Starkville (Miss.) linebacker Willie Gay, 3-star Marcus (Texas) cornerback Matt Hankins and 3-star Belleville (Mich.) safety Jordan Ulmer.
As for Ulmer, he’s lives about 20 minutes from Ann Arbor, is committed to Iowa State and is without an offer from the Wolverines. He could walk away with one, as Michigan has shown interest in getting another safety. He probably won’t get an offer, though, at least for now.
The defensive tackles are an interesting situation. Tufele and Jeter on campus at the same time sets up for a solid grouping. Michigan’s recruiting staff will likely put the two in the same visiting group, so they can get to know each other, and hopefully, for Michigan’s sake, hit it off and love the visit.
The question is, will Michigan take both of them? While, they aren’t in the lead with either, it’s worth asking. They need a defensive tackle. They’re in good shape with Flint (Mich.) Deron Irving-Bey, but his best fit is outside or at the 3-technique. The top target at the position was Lee County (Ga.) defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon, who decommited. Although the relationship has improved, that ship may have sailed.
So take a look at Tufele and Jeter, take a look at who else you want in the class, and decide if you take both. Michigan probably won’t have that issue, though. If either of them commit, it’s likely Jeter, who’s fresh off a decommitment (he had committed to Notre Dame simply because of one good visit). Tufele is still a Buckeye lean, and that likely won’t change.
With Gay, he’s committed to Ole Miss. And while he has said that Michigan is his top school, kids often say a lot of different things. It also sounds like there could be some qualification issues too. His game is outstanding, and one that would fit Michigan’s mold. Whether he has the non-football things taken care of is yet to be seen. His visit has been scheduled for some time, so this wasn’t spontaneous, like Jeter’s visit.
As for Hankins, we’ll have to wait. He’s quiet and doesn’t talk to the media much. He’s really good, better than his 3-star ranking in my opinion. He’s part of a movement in this Iowa recruiting class that has Texas kids, like Eno Benjamin, who was a Michigan target, heading to the Hawkeyes. He looks to enjoy that bond, but Michigan is on top right now, and Iowa has struggled with the likes of Rutgers.
If Michigan really wants him, which I think they do, then the gas pedal shall be pressed Saturday. A source on Iowa’s side of things said that he was open to talking at all times, but since the Michigan offer/visit announcement, he has been silent.
What’s going on with Brad Hawkins?
It’s rare Michigan takes a commitment that ends up not qualifying. Last cycle, it happened twice with New Jersey 4-star WR Brad Hawkins and Alabama 3-star LB Dytarious Johnson. It doesn’t look like Johnson will join the class again, but Hawkins could be headed to Ann Arbor to play after all.
Hawkins was a top-300 player out of high school, ranked the No. 55 overall WR in the country. He was high school teammates with current Michigan DE Ron Johnson. At 6-foot-1, 202-pounds out of high school, Hawkins brought a highlight tape that excited the staff and the fans. If he can qualify, and it sounds like he will, it seems he intends to come to Michigan, just like he planned.
The problem here is that Michigan is in the lead for four elite WRs in the 2017 class, with 5-star prospect Donovan Peoples-Jones, and 4-star prospects Tarik Black, Nico Collins and Oliver Martin. Does Michigan take all five? Or do they cut one of those four off?
If I’m Michigan, I’m taking the four from this cycle if I can’t take all five. Hawkins is great on the field, but you’ve already dealt with issues from Ahmir Mitchell, now at Rutgers, and Kareem Walker had some academic issues this season. So look at your options in 2017, and start fresh.
Hawkins has the talent to come to Michigan, that’s never been a question. And from some accounts, he has set himself up to qualify and should have a good future going forward. If there’s room for him, take him. But I wouldn’t say no to one of the four from 2017 for him.
Current commit I am most excited to watch
The easy answer would be quarterback Dylan McCaffrey out of Valor Christian (Colo.). I’m taking a different path, though, especially after this highlight last Friday, and pick 4-star Alexandria (Va.) DE Luiji Vilain. At 6-foot-4, 240-pounds, Vilain is as quick as they come for his size. And if you don’t believe me, just watch (cue the Bruno Mars song):
Yeah, so Vilain is a pretty absurd specimen. What I like most about his game is his explosiveness off the edge. He’s violent, he’s quick, and he’s as good as they come for a kid that is as raw as he is. Originally from Canada, Vilain played his second season of American football last year for Episcopal. Imagining what Greg Mattison can do with Vilain’s high ceiling is scary.
Kind of like, Ezekiel Ansah scary.